Date Night with Jesus

Last night I went on a date with Jesus for Valentines Day, I remember a woman telling me how she used to do that when she was single, so I decided to try to give it a try. I dropped my son off at a sitter’s for the night and then off we went to the theatre to watch a live production of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Jesus started the night off right by immediately singing me a love song on the way to the theatre 😍, the song on the radio was the one that talks about being safe in the arms of Jesus and I love the thought of being held safely in His arms. God may not be able to give me an actual physical hug, but He can touch my heart and my mind, but the lack of physical touch is still an ongoing issue in our relationship. It is true. I think it hurts His heart too that I can’t feel Him physically holding my hand or keeping me safe in his warm embrace. I really want to be in His physical presence. When I get to heaven I told Him I just want some time with Him in His garden just me and Him — no one else allowed. I need some me and Jesus time. I just want some Jesus time all to myself where I can really be in His physical presence. We’ve been so close for so long, for decades! I am tired of not being able to actually be in His real presence, not that I want to go to heaven early – no, but it is just part of the fall that we have to be physically separate from Him…Ever since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden we have had this problem as a human collective. I’ve told Him we can climb trees together and walk barefoot together and just enjoy that missing part that we all are missing out on, we are all missing out on being in His physical presence. I think that is something we should all long for.

Relationship issues aside…we got to the theatre and for some reason I thought I would just be able to waltz in on Valentines Day night and buy a ticket at the door…the one night men everywhere are taking their significant others out. They were sold out. My heart was so sad. I had planned this evening with Jesus and I thought it might just end up being another evening at home with Him on the piano…which is fine. I love my piano time with Him, but this night was supposed to have been special. The lady told me that the show was sold out but to hang tight because someone might not show up so I sat down and I waited. Lo and behold a single solitary seat was not filled! God saved a seat for me! He knew it was going to sale out but He made a way where there was no way for me to have my date night with Him still. He loves me so much…

After the show we went home and I had prepared the way with beautiful luminarias, pure white, like a bride dressed in white…but I got distracted. I started taking videos and pictures focusing on a project I am working on and that wasn’t cool cause I was using the evening for something other than just spending time with my Savior, it was supposed to have been all about Him and I, He saved me a seat, He sang me a love song! It was supposed to be our night, but the distraction resulted in me not spending really good authentic piano time with Him, and that was not ok. I did spend time with him on the piano still…but it had an alternative motive, to get a good video of the luminarias with piano music versus just losing myself in Him and letting go of all concept of time and life, letting nothing, nothing at all be about that moment but Him and I. That is what I desire, that is the time I long for, pure authentic intimacy with no distraction and that is what He is telling me He longs for too. Ironically the project I am working on is for Him…but it isn’t Him. I get so passionate about Him that I want to work hard for Him and His kingdom…but serving Him and loving on Him intimately are different things and intimacy is so much better, I think we both prefer it so much more. It is so neat to think how God longs for time with me too, just like I long for Him. As the deer panteth after the waters, the Psalmist wrote those words so long ago, but they still ring true today. We were created for Living Water, for a real cistern with real water that never runs dry, a cistern of intimacy that we can drink from every day.

The night before Valentines Day had actually been so much better when it came to achieving spiritual intimacy. I was worshiping Jesus on the piano and really had entered into that secret place with Him. I didn’t want to get up to even go to bed or to take care of a single simple task. He reminded me that I needed to take some food out of the freezer for my son’s Valentines Day breakfast I had planned…but I just wanted to stay on the piano, worshiping Jesus. Have you ever been there, in that spot with Jesus where you feel like the curtain between heaven and earth has truly been rent to the point that you feel His presence and you don’t want to leave it for anything? The thought of taking 15 steps away from the piano for just a moment to take sausage out of the freezer was terrible, it felt wrong, it was the last thing I wanted to do because I seriously with all my heart just wanted to spend all night with Him, in His glorious presence…and I even told Him that. I didn’t want to think about preparing for breakfast or even the necessity of sleep. I just wanted to think about Him and be in His presence. That was the right heart, that was the right way…not using a date night for something else. I feel so bad. I apologized to Him and told him I want a redo, I can’t dial back time but I can get it right this next time. The next time I go on a date with Jesus it is going to be all about Him and I and it is going to be lavish and it is going to be rich and deep and sweet and beautiful and I am going to give Him all of me, all of my attention, all of my thoughts, all of my heart, all the moments will be his, all his and only His.

The night that I just simply got in God’s presence I feel like He gave me a gift afterward. He reciprocated the love I gave to Him with something so thoughtful and awesome. I got on my laptop and checked my Facebook and a small group leader from when I was a teenager shared a video of me and other teens in our youth group worshiping Jesus at Fine Arts…that was such a beautiful gift. She even messaged us the song in a couple of file formats! I have been loving on Jesus through worship for a long time, some nights I get it right, other nights I lose focus…but I love Him and I will strive always to be excellent in my worship toward Him.

I learned a valuable lesson over the last two nights, there are two songs, that were “born” from those nights with Jesus….but which evening was the best intimate experience? I want the best spiritual intimacy one can achieve. While I feel like I want a redo so I don’t slight my Savior in any way, there is always today to get it even better, and tomorrow and the day after that. Working on an intimate relationship with God takes intentionality and it takes grace, because we won’t always get it right. When we do get in that secret place with Him though, man, isn’t it awesome? To be in the presence of the living God is truly better than a thousand days elsewhere…

We can each do that. We can make intentional, passionate effort to love Jesus and get in His presence simply to be there with Him, our Lord and Savior, the lover of our soul. He passionately loves us, let us lose ourselves in simply passionately loving Him back. Let’s passionately love to Him with all our heart, with our all soul and with our all mind like Jesus tells us to:

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37

Luke 21:1-4, Sacrificial Giving

Looking up, [Jesus] saw the rich people putting their gifts into the treasury.

And He saw also a poor widow putting in two mites (copper coins).

And He said, Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them;

For they all gave out of their abundance (their surplus); but she has contributed out of her lack and her want, putting in all that she had on which to live.

Luke 21:1-4

Four small verses, huge impact. You know how when you are reading the Bible and all of a sudden a certain phrase really just sticks out to you. Like the Holy Spirit is saying, “Hey! Stop! Wait! Check this out…” Well that happened to me yesterday as I was reading the Bible. In particular, the line where Jesus explains to His listeners “that [the rich] all gave out of their abundance (their surplus); but [the widow] contributed out of her lack and her want”. What was really striking to me, as if it were being waived in front of my face with flashing lights, was that they gave out of their abundance, their surplus. I love the Amplified translation because it pulls from the Hebrew and Greek and inserts words in parentheses that the original listeners would have understood. Here that word surplus helped me understand that they weren’t just giving a lot cause they were rich or abundant in their wealth, they were instead giving out of the excess, the leftover money, the money that wasn’t required to pay all the bills and cover expenses for everything else. They were giving their extra money….This really makes me think of Malachi chapter one where the priests were giving God animals in sacrifice that were of no good to them. The animals they were sacrificing wasn’t much of a sacrifice because they were giving God the blind and lame. The ones they didn’t need and could not sale or even give as tax payments since they were of no value. How dare they insult God in this way? God also was pointing out to me, through the nudging of His Spirit, the words that the widow was “contribut[ing] out of her lack and her want”. So really this picture, again wasn’t about how much the original person had financially – it was their heart condition before God. How did they perceive God and then treat Him with their sacrificial worship?

Then God decided it was time to drive the point home to me – specifically in regards to time….If you notice I haven’t posted a blog post since April. Now I’m not saying God is superly overly concerned with me writing on the blog. What I am saying is this is an indicator of how I have been giving or withholding “my” time from God. During this season in my life I am going to school full time, working a part-time job ( I know could be way worse) while also making efforts to be productive around the house and as a wife and dog owner and as a friend etc. etc. Often times I feel the pressure and weight of the cares of this world to the point that I feel that I don’t have time to study the word in-depth and so I limp along spiritually praying most days, skipping some and only reading the Bible, I must confess a bit less than I pray, and not really delving in to study it in-depth. The quality of the time I provide to God is not really sacrificial by any means, and it is pretty lame. Although it is true that my time is lacking, that I am in want of more time in general, I am being like the rich people at the temple, reserving my quality Bible study for breaks between school, when I have an abundance, a surplus of time. God is really convicting me about giving time to Him out of a lack or out of want of time. My actions in this area reflect my faith and trust or lack thereof, as well as my respect in a sense for God as my Father and for God as my Master. As Malachi 1:6 points out, a son is to honor his father and a servant to revere and fear his master.

The faith of the widow is evident, giving her money out of a lack or out of a want, especially when you consider that she gave to God “all that she had on which to live”. But really we should all surrender everything of ourselves to God. If we are truly to be a bond servant of God than the money and time and all resources that we possess should really be at God’s complete and utter disposal….that is the cry of my heart.

Lord I want to be at your disposal. I want to be in-tune with the Holy Spirit. Led by and controlled by You. A vessel poured out in sacrifice for the glory of God. Lord You are my Father. You are my Master. I can trust you. Give me the strength to be steadfast in serving You, the sensitivity and discernment to hear and the faith to be quick to obey.

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

Romans 12:1-2